“We Fly When We Need!” What does “contractor’s reliability” imply in air freight transportation
Air transportation like any type of transportation has a number of peculiarities in terms of planning logistics processes. The major risks customers of air freight services may face are:
- lack of cargo space when required;
- the freight rate is significantly higher than expected;
- the cargo is not prepared for transportation – not packed, no documents, etc.;
- changes in air transportation regulations.
The risks mentioned above are more or less related to any transport mode, but they are more likely to arise unexpectedly in air transportations, are especially acute and are overcome with great efforts.
So, how to make logistics processes involving air transportation predictable and easy to plan? Experts of Air Transportation Department of TELS Group of Companies share their experience.
Challenge 1. No cargo space and/or the rate is higher than expected
These two risks are usually interrelated and arise in “peak seasons”. For instance, the peak season on the most active air cargo route (from China) begins in September-October and ends around February. The rates grow significantly in this period and the cargo space is booked much in advance.
How does TELS Group of Companies solve the issue for its customers? Direct business ties with the largest airlines and the growing volumes of transportation allow the managers of the company to receive prime conditions.
Fixed rates for air freight transportation from China to Russia for up to 9 months are particularly rare in the market of logistics services. TELS’s regular customers of air freight services have guaranteed volumes of cargo space on the route at fixed rates when required, which allows them to plan their logistics activities and budgets steadily.
TELS specialists also find an opportunity for new customers to deliver cargoes urgently. There are many examples illustrating such transportations and one of the latest cases is the urgent air transportation of a large consignment including 61 boxes of medical equipment from China in December.
Challenge 2. The cargo is not ready for transportation
Large Chinese exporting manufacturers usually know how to prepare cargoes for air transportation. But quite often companies have to work with suppliers lacking the required experience and specialists.
The most typical questions that are solved while arranging air transportation are:
- packaging of goods does not meet the requirements for air transportation;
- absence of the required documents: certificates, safety certificates, etc.
Besides the general requirements for air transportation, each airline has its own requirements, including the packaging of goods: some accept goods only in boxes, others need only pallets, etc. Aircraft are different in the size of cargo compartments, which often makes it necessary to adjust the height of the cargo.
Partner and agent networks in the countries of origin help TELS experts prepare any cargo, including dangerous, requiring temperature compliance, oversize and heavy, for air transportation.
The most interesting case from the experience of the current year is the transportation of 3.4 tons of class 3 liquid chemicals with repackaging into the purchased containers and preparation of all the required documents: certificates, including safety certificate, customs declaration, etc.
As agreed with certain airlines delivering goods from China, the goods are packed directly into containers in agent’s warehouse as well as placed on the pallets of the airlines, which eliminates the need for additional repackaging at the airport terminal and reduces the risk of accidental cargo damage.
Challenge 3. Unexpected changes in air transportation regulations
This problem does not occur often, but when it arises, it can ‘paralyse’ transportation of certain cargo types for some time.
A bright example illustrating this situation is the introduction of an embargo for commercial batches of lithium-ion batteries in cargo compartments of passenger ships in April 2016 along with more rigid air transportation conditions.
As a result, most logistics companies temporarily stopped accepting requests for air transportation of batteries from China, despite the fact that this product has always been in demand on the market (batteries for mobile phones, portable power banks, etc.). The reasons for that was the fact that along with the need to reorganise air logistics the Chinese manufacturers were not ready to provide their products in the required packaging with the appropriate package of documents.
How did TELS Group of Companies manage this situation for its customers?
Yury Shidlovsky, Head of Air Transportation Department of TELS Group of Companies: “Due to the fact that: a) all the staff of our department were familiar with dangerous goods regulations; b) our agent in China knew how to prepare the declarations for the goods; c) we have good business ties with AirBridge Cargo, we actually became the only supplier of services for the delivery of lithium-ion batteries from China to the CIS at the time. We transported about 50 tons of batterie during 6 months.”
In such situations, customers and suppliers of TELS Group of Companies receive special instructions in the form of check-lists to prepare the cargo – when all the issues are fulfilled, the cargo is ready for air transportation. The cargo is checked thoroughly and, if necessary, the preparation (implying package replacement, labelling, etc.) is completed at the agent’s warehouse near the airport.
The ability to solve complex issues in any circumstances, predict the risks and take measures to reduce them, all these are the signs of a reliable logistics contractor.
The unique experience of TELS Group of Companies in air freight transportation serves Partners’ and Clients’ needs!